Leicester Tigers won his ninth Gallagher Premiership title after sinking Saracens 15-12 in a thrilling final at Twickenham as Freddie burns‘ Dramatic drop goal with 20 seconds of normal time remaining saw them go home.
Saracens’ hopes of achieving a meteoric rise from the salary cap scandal and humiliation of relegation to win back the national silverware have been dashed by the Tigers’ grumbling.
Leicester overcame the loss of injured talisman in the first half george ford in his final appearance before joining Sale in the summer to end a nine-year wait for title glory.
Tries from their South African strikers Hanro Liebenberg and Jasper Wiese for an eight-minute second-quarter period helped Leicester win.
Saracens scrum-half Aled Davies was off the field for both scores after being booked following a shoulder challenge against Tigers hooker Julian Montoya, although he was lucky enough to avoid a red card.
Ford replacement Burns added a conversion ahead of his dramatic win, while Saracens skipper Owen Farrell kicked three penalties and Elliot Daly one.
But Saracens’ dream of securing a sixth league crown just 15 months after they were ambushed by Cornish Pirates at Penzance – following a demotion to the Championship and a £5.36m fine sterling for repeated salary cap violations – has passed away.
Leicester only avoided relegation two years ago due to Saracens punishment, but their revival under the head coach Steve Borthwick was spectacular.
And after finishing top after the league regular season, as well as winning all 12 Premiership home games plus a play-off, they delivered again when it mattered.
Borthwick came as a surprise at scrum-half, favoring former Saracens player Richard Wigglesworth over Ben Youngs, while Guy Porter moved into midfield as a replacement for an injured Dan Kelly and the Premiership’s top try scorer Chris Ashton also started.
Saracens showed just one change after their play-off win over Harlequins, with lock Nick Isiekwe replacing Tim Swinson.
Leicester found themselves under immediate pressure and Farrell kicked in a fifth-minute penalty after Liebenberg breached a challenge against Nick Tompkins.
The Tigers grew in the game and won a five-yard attacking scrum following defensive wobbles between Saracen full-backs Davies and Alex Goode.
But Leicester captain Ellis Genge was penalized for collapsing the scrum, and Saracens clawed their way upfield thanks to a Billy Vunipola charge.
Ford missed a chance to level with Leicester when he drifted a penalty chance 38 yards wide, and his farewell to the Tigers then ended prematurely, limping after an awkward fall.
The temperature on the pitch had risen a notch and Davies was shown a yellow card for his challenge on Montoya, with Leicester punishing them immediately.
The Leicester fullbacks launched a thrilling move that sent Saracens back, and Liebenberg crossed from close range before Burns converted.
Saracens had to regroup and Daly kicked a penalty from 48 yards, closing the gap to 7-6.
But Leicester struck again just before Davies returned, Wiese scoring after Genge took a quick penalty and the Tigers led by five points at the break.
Saracens’ Sean Maitland did not return for the second half, with Alex Lozowski replacing him, while Daly moved from center to wing.
Leicester had all the momentum and they pressed relentlessly midway through the third quarter after Burns missed a long-range penalty.
Saracens’ defense was tested in all areas but they managed to keep the Tigers clear and still trail by six points in the final 20 minutes.
Farrell’s successful second penalty brought Saracens within reach and the closing stages proved inevitably frantic, with Tigers substitute Matt Scott receiving a yellow card for a high challenge against Billy Vunipola, and Farrell’s penalty in the 76th minute equalized it.
Burns, however, had the last laugh as the 32-year-old dropped a goal and Leicester could celebrate wildly.
Leicester Tigers vs Saracens: Result, report and highlights from Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham
Source link Leicester Tigers vs Saracens: Result, report and highlights from Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham